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As the Oil Age slowly fades into history, Saudi Arabia is betting its new energy future on becoming a leading producer of “green” hydrogen.
The Saudi government already is a leading producer of hydrogen for use in fertilizers and chemicals. But now it has signed an agreement with ACWA Power, a Saudi public-private partnership, and Air Products, a U.S.-based multinational company, to build the world’s largest hydrogen production plan run by four gigawatts of wind and solar power.
The plant itself is estimated to cost about $5 billion; the green energy plant to power it will add about $4 billion to the cost and calls for building a solar installation twice the size of the world’s biggest current solar farm.
It may be worth the challenge. “Green” hydrogen, not harvested from processes burning hydrocarbons, is seen as a “forever” fuel, with air and water providing raw material for a fuel that produces only water instead of smog as “exhaust.”  Also, ammonia is a byproduct of hydrogen production and can itself be used as a fuel for ships and large industrial boilers.
But producing hydrogen cleanly remains energy-intensive, technologically challenging, and, therefore, uneconomic. As a result, few ventures have been willing to invest heavily in the technology.
TRENDPOST: By taking on the project, Saudi Arabia signals a commitment to conducting the research and development that will advance green hydrogen technology toward practicality and place the nation at the forefront of a new energy technology.

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